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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Smokers struck by dripping fat ad
BHF advert
BHF's advert pulled no punches
An anti-smoking advert showing fat dripping from the end of a cigarette hit home with smokers.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) ran the advertisement on the internet, TV, billboards, pub beer mats and in newspapers in January.

A survey for the BHF has now shown 90% of smokers recognise the dripping fat image.

And 83% of people polled said it made them give further consideration to quitting the habit.

The adverts were intended to show smokers the effect that smoking can have on atheroma - the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries.

It has left an indelible imprint on many smokers' memories
Betty McBride, BHF
The TV commercial showed fatty deposits being squeezed from the artery of a 32-year-old smoker and depicted a group of smokers in a pub brushing fat dripping from their cigarettes off their clothes.


The adverts are part of a three-year 7.5m Department of Health campaign.

The survey showed there was an overall 94% recognition of some aspect of it.

Betty McBride, director of marketing and communications at the BHF, said: "These results show our advert has penetrated the public consciousness and successfully raised awareness of the link between smoking and heart disease.

"It has left an indelible imprint on many smokers' memories, so that every time they pick up a cigarette, they think of our advert and remember the damage that cigarette can do to their arteries."

The charity also received 12,000 calls to its smoking helpline and a special website had 65,000 hits in January.

Latest research suggests smoking may be a factor in causing "aggravation" of the artery walls which then allows build up of fatty deposits.

When combined with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, smokers can be at considerable risk of developing coronary heart disease.


The BHF's head of medical information Belinda Linden said the campaign had succeeded in making people more aware of the link between smoking and heart disease and what it can do to the arteries.

The advert was a "graphic way to show people on the outside what happens to your insides," she said.

Hamish Pringle, director-general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, said the campaign had been extremely successful because it created a picture that smokers easily remembered.

He said: "Every time they smoke, that image pops into their head."

Portraying the advert as being by the BHF rather than the government was also a smart move, Mr Pringle said.

Regular changes in politicians and civil servants have led to frequent switches between "carrot and stick" approaches to anti-smoking publicity, he said.

This was detrimental to campaigns and he recommended both approaches should run at the same time.

08 Feb 03  |  Medical notes
Smoking gets in your eyes
31 Dec 03  |  Magazine

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